Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2016 ski-crash trial started this week, she didn’t settle

In 2016, Gwyneth Paltrow allegedly got into a ski accident in Park City, Utah. The accident, which happened on the slopes, either involved Paltrow crashing into a retired, senior optometrist named Terry Sanderson, or Sanderson crashing into Paltrow (which is her version of events). Both sides admit that a crash happened, but there’s a disagreement about who caused the crash and whether Paltrow checked on Sanderson as he was lying in the snow with broken bones. In 2019, Sanderson filed a lawsuit against Paltrow. This week, the case has finally come to trial. I guess she didn’t feel like settling out of court? I thought that was what happened because we hadn’t heard about this case in years. But no, it’s happening now. These are photos from Tuesday, the first day of what will be an eight-day civil trial.

Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist, sued Paltrow, alleging that the lifestyle influencer crashed into him while skiing on the beginner’s slopes in Park City, Utah, in February 2016. (Park City is a resort town that hosts the annual, celebrity-studded Sundance Film Festival.)

He claimed that Paltrow, 50, was recklessly heading down the slopes, resulting in a violent collision that left him injured and sprawled on the ground. Paltrow skied away, while he went to the emergency room for a concussion and broken ribs, he alleged, according to the Associated Press. Sanderson initially sued for $3 million, then dropped it to $300,000.

Sanderson’s attorneys argued Tuesday that the incident caused him physical injuries and emotional distress and were a result of negligence on the ski slopes, AP reported.

Sanderson’s friend and ski companion Craig Ramon testified Tuesday, stating that he was nearby at the time of the accident seven years ago when he saw Paltrow hit Sanderson, causing Sanderson to fall face down, AP reported.

Paltrow agrees that the pair collided on a ski run seven years ago. But her attorneys argued that the accident was Sanderson’s fault, that it was Sanderson who crashed into Paltrow. Members of Paltrow’s group then checked on Sanderson, who said he was fine, her attorneys argued. Sanderson stated he has no recollection, AP reported.

Paltrow filed a counterclaim, seeking attorneys fees and $1 in damages. She alleged that Sanderson caused the collision, overstated his injuries from the incident and is attempting to exploit her fame and wealth, AP reported.

[From WaPo]

When Sanderson sued in 2019, he alleged that a Park City ski instructor helped Paltrow “cover up” the incident and that the instructor filed some kind of false report about it to the guy’s bosses or something. I wonder if that will be part of the trial, just as I wonder if Paltrow really did get people to cover up the accident and who crashed into whom. I have no wild take on this – as I’ve said many times, I’m primed to believe the worst of Paltrow, and she absolutely seems like the kind of person who would crash into a senior citizen on a ski slope and then lie about it.

Superficial comment: I’ve worn glasses and contacts for years and Gwyneth does not have the face for these aviator frames. I’ve seen her wear a pair of oversized, square, black frames and that’s the style which looks so much better on her.

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Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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79 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2016 ski-crash trial started this week, she didn’t settle”

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  1. The Old Chick says:

    As much as I loathe her, her lawyer sounds in the right. He’s been chasing dollars and keeps changing his story.

    • Isabella says:

      The judge already dropped the hit and run part. Yes the defense witness was a friend. Probably nobody knows exactly what happened. Skiing is dangerous and accidents happen in the blink of an eye.

      • Bee says:

        it is always the responsibility of the person higher up the hill to avoid running into anyone. this is basic. if he fell face down it sounds like he was hit from behind.

        I think she should have settled and had the dude sign an nda. this would be long over.

    • lisa says:

      What is she doing…? It’s worth $300K (a sum she will never miss) to keep these unfiltered, un-photoshopped, un-approved photos of her off the internet. I’m sure she pays her social / PR much more than that.

    • Megan says:

      Attorney here (although not a litigator…just occasional litigation support) and I’m pretty sure I could win this case for her.

      Also I’m now annoyed that I’m on her side.

    • Bonebroth says:

      Always late to comment, but: how do they not have video of all slopes during all open hours by now?

  2. B says:

    Nah this sounds like a money grab and she was absolutely right to not give in to extortion.

    • Kristin says:

      Well there is an eyewitness who testified that he heard a scream, looked over and saw a skier (Paltrow) slam into the back of Terry Sanderson. I find it hard to believe that this witness is willing to perjure themselves under oath simply to stick it to Gwyneth Paltrow. By witness accounts, she was distracted watching her kids ski and didn’t see him until she was practically on top of him. Which absolutely makes it her fault.

      • Jeanette says:

        The eye witness happens to be his friend, and they have already testified contrary to their original statements..such as she didnt check on him, but he doesnt remember if he was at fault or not because of his mental state at the time? They make it sound like a vehicular hit and run which was why the amount was dropped in the first place..hes not getting near what he was asking for. The ski patrol cleared her to leave the scene. Im with grab.

      • hmm says:

        Whether or not it was her fault since when do people sue each other for this?? Really does sound like a cash grab.

  3. Sunny says:

    No opinion on the facts of the case but the wealthy woman gall to wear a SWEATER DRESS to court feels so disrespectful

    • Josephine says:

      depends on the court and i can see it being casual there. you should see what they wear to court in vermont !

    • Tulipworthy says:

      Why is a sweater dress disrespectful?

    • TeamMeg says:

      Not a sweater dress. A classy sweater with gorgeous pants and boots. Utah chic.

      • Isabella says:

        It kills me to say it, but her courtroom attire is spot on. I would actually like to wear some of the pieces.

    • Nic919 says:

      A dress is fine. I have seen crown attorneys wear Lululemon pants in court, which is far more offensive.

      • FeedMeChips says:

        I’m an actual judge. I don’t think you would like some of the things I wear to work.

    • Jan says:

      I guess you have not seem many court cases, where the Judge have to tell grownups to put on a shirt.

      • Kelly says:

        A couple of years ago there was a guy in my city who lit a joint during his court appearance. The judge was not amused. Sweater dress is fine lol

  4. Lee says:

    I like Gwyneth, but even if I didn’t – in what world is a concussion and a few broken ribs worth 300k? What emotional distress? Skiing is dangerous, which is why I don’t ski. But it’s not like he had a broken leg and couldn’t get up. He said he was fine. I think this is a frivolous lawsuit.

    • The Old Chick says:

      He’d had supposed previous head injuries (now I’ve had a head injury and my husband had a minor hit but major head injury) and all of this sounds bs.. Head injuries are so traumas.. Plus the time and the reduction in money.. He thought he’d get the settlement

    • Chlo says:

      I don’t know this case specifically, but I just want to share that all concussions are traumatic brain injuries. I was in a car accident 5 years ago and suffered a “minor” concussion and a scraped knee. My minor concussion developed into post-concussion syndrome and then chronic intractable migraine, which means I have symptoms of the neurological migraine condition (migraines are not just bad “headaches” like I thought before this car accident) every day. My entire life was turned upside down by a mild concussion, including now being in pain every day and having to take a demotion and drop to 80% time at work, and questioning whether I can work at all because the stress and computer screens leave me feeling way worse by the end of each day. Concussions are truly horrible and should not be taken lightly. I sued the other parties involved in the car accident (I was not at fault), and everyone argued my injuries were minor and pain is subjective. My chronic intractable migraine is an “invisible” condition, and while I settled for an amount that was certainly not “nothing”, my brain and my life are worth more than the 3 million initially asked for here.

      I’m just sharing because I thought concussions were no big deal as well before all of this happened to me. I don’t know if I’d say a broken leg was worse because concussions involve your brain (but that is the “invisible” part conveying they are not a big deal), but I like to share awareness when I see this kind of reaction, and hope it helps someone.

    • Nic919 says:

      I haven’t read the pleading, but in general when a claim is drafted, the amounts are basically the highest level of the spectrum (and some times crazy high) but it doesn’t mean that’s what a court would actually award. There is case law that provides a range of what injuries are worth and it is fact dependent based on factors like the age of the plaintiff and the documented effects of the injury and any potential recovery. If it was reduced to $300,000 then I suspect there is likely an amount for medical costs in addition to the general damages. There is also likely a punitive damages claim too based on what they are alleging what happened after the accident.

      • Isabella says:

        Judge already shot down the punitive damages:
        “Sanderson was originally seeking $3.1 million in damages, but a judge ruled he is not entitled to punitive damages, and cut the amount he is allowed to seek by more than 90% to $300,000.”

    • OriginalCee says:

      I’ve never skiied in the US but in Argentina you need to purchase a pass in order to get on the slopes and instructors are allowed to snatch them away if they see recklesness.
      Skiing is dangerous which is why there are rules ie different slopes, speeds, etc
      Someone was going too fast because they couldn’t swerve and avoid the other person. *IF* Gwyneth was coming down a slope way too fast and collided into the optometrist, then his injuries are 100% possible.

      • Sister Carrie says:

        Ski patrol can yank tickets/passes for reckless skiing but not ski instructors. We can, however, notify ski patrol about dangerous skiers.

      • gah says:

        where do you ski in Argentina? we just moved to BA. I can’t wait to ski here.

    • Lionel says:

      Concussions and broken ribs are painful and can have long-term effects. But skiing is dangerous! People sustain major injuries on ski slopes every day during the season. When you buy a lift ticket you acknowledge the inherent risk, it’s right there in black and white. If this guy had been hit by some random person and not GP there’s no way he would have bothered suing. I say all this as an avid skier who has no fondness for GP. It’s a cash grab.

  5. JM says:

    If only she had a reputation as the kind of person who people would believe would absolutely stop and help like Selena Gomez or Jack Black. Unfortunately she’s cultivated the exact rep that would make people believe she’d plow over an old man and then have her people lie and cover for her hit and run

  6. LooneyTunes says:

    Don’t you assume the risk of injury on a ski slope? I’m wondering if he would’ve sued if she wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow.

    • Sister Carrie says:

      You assume risk liability from the resort, not from other, possibly reckless, skiers. Uphill skiers have the responsibility to not run into skiers on the hill below them. Possibly the best known case involved a man going almost 50 mph who slammed into and killed a 5 yr old and was successfully prosecuted for manslaughter (iirc). This collision occurred on a green slope (beginner run) so it is doubly incumbent on the uphill skier (esp an experienced skier) to maintain control as a green is full of people learning to ski. My only doubt is that GP would not have been able to produce enough speed to really impact the man (tho it really comes down to the angle he fell onto the ground. Falling in skis can cause weird injuries as your feet can’t move to cushion the blow). I’m a ski instructor btw and have seen too many collisions to just dismiss this one out of hand.

      • Moxylady says:

        The confusing part for me is that GP would be on a green slope. Isn’t she some sort of expert skier?
        As for the man’s injuries – they could be completely legitimate and he’s asking for less money simply to cover his delightful American medical insurance costs as opposed to money to keep him comfortable doing further treatments and procedures to
        help with his recovery.
        The human body is a strange thing. Natasha Richardson died after “bumping her head on soft snow” remember? While Keith richards has OD’d dozens of times and has had full body blood transfusions. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      • Talia says:

        It seems to be undisputed she was there watching her children take lessons. He says she was watching them not where she was going and went into him, hence the accident, she says he slammed into her from directly behind her and they both went flying.

        It’s pretty clear that if it’s the former, she’s liable, if the latter he is.

      • Kirsten says:

        It seems really unlikely that he’d know that she was on the slope watching her children and not where she was going if she was behind him. Like he’d have no way of knowing where her attention was pointed.

      • Isabella says:

        The judge already dropped the hit and run part. Yes the defense witness was a friend. Probably nobody knows exactly what happened. Skiing is dangerous and accidents happen in the blink of an eye.

        She was skiing with her kids and an instructor. She wasn’t a speed demon.

  7. Danbury says:

    I have a friend who just had her leg broken in three places on the slopes because another guy was skiing like a maniac and crashed into her. It’s a dangerous sport. I’ll stick to drinking wine and eating fondu at the ski bar, thanks

    • MangoAngelesque says:

      I’m genuinely confused. I loathe Goopy, but I can’t see anything wrong with her appearance here? What on earth is wrong with wearing a sweater suit?

  8. PrincessOfWaffles says:

    Face down, high speed, broken ribs, and brain injuries? That sounds pretty serious from what i’ve read on other channels too. If she’s the one on top of the hill coming down, I would think she’s responsible for the accident? Could the victim not be seen? Did Gwyn go at high speed, inexperienced and didnt know how to control her speed or like was in a black diamond kinda trail and was a beginner and had nothing to do there? The victim seems like a very experimented skier so, I’m betting that Gwyn at fault, wants to have the last word and wont pay because she thinks she’s all that…

    • LooneyTunes says:

      It was a beginner scope. He claimed she was “reckless” rather than “negligent” to avoid “assumption of the risk” legal defense (which would apply to any voluntary sport—also the reason he didn’t sue the ski resort). But he’d have to prove recklessness, which it doesn’t look like he can, otherwise she would’ve settled already.

    • Lux says:

      A lot of black diamond slopes eventually merge with green/beginner ones as they wind down so I can see GP going fast until the end. I think it’s improbable that Gwyneth, with all her privilege, is still on the beginner slope at her age.

      • LooneyTunes says:

        That makes more sense (about the slopes merging). Thanks.

      • ElleE says:

        Was going to say the same thing – the expert skiers end up at the bottom of the mountain on a green, with people that just ski right in front of them without looking uphill.

        You actually are supposed to have an awareness of what’s coming at you and not only just where you’re going.

        I have never in my life seen an adult collision happen where one just got up and skied away, saying nothing. I don’t care who you are.

        A crowd will gather, people will ask if anyone needs help, someone calls ski patrol, other people will help recover lost equipment and bring it back to the injured skier and help put it back on. This sounds like a bad collision so she probably at least lost a ski.

      • Mtl.ex.Pat says:

        Was just going to say this – lots of black diamonds turn into greens lower down and/or a lot of connector runs to get to different parts of the mountain are also green runs.
        A lot of it is up to chance – remember Natasha Richardson died on a green run (mainly because she unfortunately wasn’t wearing a helmet.)
        As someone whose snowboarding season ended for the season in late January when I got hit by an out of control child (he came roaring down a blue connector run and sent me flying, leaving me with a broken shoulder before skiing away and leaving me there. His parents were nowhere to be found. I had to call ski patrol to bring me down on the med sled) I can say that there is so much random chance on the hill. It depends on the angle you fall, the type of snow, the speed, whether you fall straight or twist something. I’ve been snowboarding for 25 years and it’s the first time I’ve been hurt – and the galling thing is it was the fault of someone irresponsible.
        All this to say – entirely possible he was hurt on a green run.

      • The Old Chick says:

        And Michael Schumacher, a super fit athlete who had been skiing since young childhood now has 24/7 care in his own specially built private hospital because of a ‘minor’ fall.

    • Talia says:

      I think she was on the beginner slopes with her children who were learning rather than coming off a harder trail.

      I’m fairly sure that isn’t disputed since he seems to be claiming she was distracted watching the children and not looking where she was going. She, of course says he slammed straight into her back and she had no chance to avoid him.

  9. Southern Fried says:

    Twitter has been comparing her in her glasses to Jeffery Dahmer, side by side pictures and I saw it too lol.

  10. og bella says:

    I dislike Gwen, but this is a money grab.

  11. TeamMeg says:

    Eight days of GP court fashion? Sign me up! Who else is here for Gwyn’s Anna Delvey moment? Agree with Kaiser about the aviator frames; they do nothing for Goop’s face. Love the ivory turtleneck, though, and she was wearing great boots, too.

  12. HeyKay says:

    IDK, I’d have negotiated a settlement w/NDA, instead of going to trial.
    She’s loaded, what’s $250K to her?
    OK, I just don’t like her at all.

    • Lux says:

      That’s a pretty fatalistic way of looking at things. I’m inclined to believe GP because if you honestly didn’t do anything, why should you settle? Plus, the likes of Taylor and Meghan have turned the $1 damage countersue into a public process to uphold the truth, to show that this is not just about money.

      • tealily says:

        I agree. It sounds like a cash grab anyway, but if it wasn’t I’m SURE she’d settle. She must have known what a media circus this would be. And I’m no Goop apologist.

  13. TeamMeg says:

    Eight days of GP court fashion? Sign me up! Who else is here for Goop’s Anna Delvey moment? Agree about the aviator frames; they do nothing for her face. Loved the ivory turtleneck, though, and the great boots, long green coat and flowing brown trousers. Understated, casual elegance, no frivolity. She’s taking this seriously but she’d not fussed about it. Day One is a win.

  14. Cathy says:

    The uphill skier has the responsibility of avoiding the skiers downhill. According to an article I read she was watching her kid/ kids and not paying attention to what was happening further down the slope. That makes her liable. And for reference I’ve been hit by an out of control skier, all these years later I’m still careful. He was a beginner on a black slope and with little experience. A lift operator told me that the beginner skier told him he deliberately skied into me because he could not stop. That didn’t stop him from swearing at me and digging the pointy end of his ski pole into my leg as he got up. I brushed it off at the time but it stays with you so I don’t blame the doctor for taking Gwyneth to court now.

    • ELX says:

      This is why I avoid weekends—you have to be aware of who is around you all the time. I cannot believe how many people won’t pay for lessons and think it’s a good idea to just head up the slope and see what happens.

  15. msd says:

    “The retired optometrist suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 ski crash at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort emailed his daughter hours after the crash, telling her “I’m famous,” lawyers for both parties said during opening statements on Tuesday.”

    Yikes. This plus changing his story is certainly a bad look.

    Sure she could settle but if you really think you didn’t do anything wrong and someone is just trying to get money from you then why would you give in?

    • Moxylady says:

      I have some pretty dark humor. I can see saying this and following it with – that awful woman slammed right into me. Never seen anything like it. Horribly reckless. But. Don’t worry. I have x injuries but I’m sure that I’ll be up and about in no time. Tell x I love them. And if TMZ calls tell them no comment!

  16. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I watched a bit of coverage earlier, and she’s just sitting there shaking her head. I’ll simply be reading about the coverage now lol.

  17. Ace says:

    No idea or opinion about the case, just surprised by how much she looks like her mom in these photos.

  18. AnneL says:

    Well, I don’t know what happened. I can definitely see her being reckless and not caring to stop to check on the guy. But it could be a money grab too.

    My husband is a lawyer (I was too but not in a litigation field) and he has always been wary of skiing. We never took our kids like so many people we know do. Because it’s expensive, and it’s dangerous. Every time we came close to finally booking a ski trip, we heard about someone we know being injured in Colorado or Utah on the slopes, and we decided against it.

    It’s really dangerous. I’ve been several times and found it fun, but it’s not worth the risk to me.

    • Sass says:

      We live in Colorado and we might be the only people we know that don’t ski. We just aren’t interested. Couple that with the price and the danger, no thank you.

      To top it off, the employees who run the slopes are not paid well and it’s resulted in serious understaffing coupled with doubling crowds. So it’s even more dangerous now.

      I subscribe to the local magazine 5280 and it is so completely tailored to rich people who live in Denver ONLY. As in, not Denver Metro, but Denver. Not Aurora, Lakewood, Littleton, Arvada, etc. They’re happy to use our numbers to say it makes them a bustling city but too snobby to say anything decent about the burbs. Anyway, my point is almost EVERY publication has been mainly about skiing lately and I don’t get it. I want my money back 🤣

  19. Andrea says:

    The information about line bypass because of hiring private ski instructors was highly salacious to me. Oh the rich are just different from us no doubt. No idea who is telling the truth, but there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth.

    • Sister Carrie says:

      All private lessons (and group lessons) have a special lane to “jump” lift lines. It’s a perk of the lesson and yes, experienced skiers will book lessons just for this perk. If you’re spending $250 for a one hour lesson (and that’s cheap for a private), you want time on the snow, not standing in line. Also, this is a rich sport, especially at big name resorts, so pretty much everybody at Deer Valley has money.

  20. Rnot says:

    I love skiing but I haven’t been in years and I probably won’t do it again. It’s fun but you end up surrounded by reckless morons and the potential for life-changing injuries is just too great.

  21. I have seen nothing to say she was drunk or drinking.My point being although I’m not a fan of Gwynn…skiing is a dangerous sport-I know I’m a skier,but doesn’t everyone assume a certain personal risk when skiing?
    I mean if she were intoxicated perhaps this would make more sense,and I’m truly sorry if he was injured,but we can’t just sue people Bc they are rich AND obnoxious,right?
    So I guess I’m on her side in this…and no,she can’t pull off those glasses but whatever.

  22. Sass says:

    I don’t like her.

    That said, I think this man saw who she was and is trying to make his millions.

    Good for her for not giving in.

  23. QuiteContrary says:

    I’d rather she be sued over some of her Goop quackery.

  24. Annalise/Typical Virgo says:

    this article states that “members of Paltrow’s group [her husband and son] checked on Sanderson”, but I read the witness account, and he stated that Falchuck and Moses skiied up to him and Sanderson, gave them a dirty look, and skiied away.

    Also, maybe Sanderson IS really stupid, but he would have to know how stupid it would be to insist on going to trial, if he didn’t really have a lot of damages. He HAS to know that Gwyneth has the best lawyers, and in cases like this, a private investigator is often employed to find out if the injured person is faking his/her injuries. if you weren’t REALLY injured, this is an insanely stupid thing to do. also my sister was in the hospital for 6 weeks once and her hospital bills were well over 200k

  25. jgerber says:

    I see it fully possible that Goop would do this. If I’d just been hit by a skier and fallen in the snow and someone asked if I were alright, I could easily see myself automatically saying I’m fine. Don’t know why she has so many supporters in this.

    • Annalise/Typical Virgo says:

      totally! she has JUST the right type of entitled, self-important, UN-empathetic attitude to make an act such as skiing away without a word, after injuring someone, possible.

  26. Roan Inish says:

    On a purely superficial note I have never seen her photographed looking as terrible (for her) as she does in these pics. Maybe the stress of this trial? It’s like she just aged 10 yrs in the last year. I was shocked by these photos.

    Oh I have no opinion on this case. Well I’m leaning toward a cash grab.

    • Annalise/Typical Virgo says:

      I was thinking the same thing!! the pic of her in the courtroom, wearing those ridiculous glasses,with the corners of her mouth all turned down…….. yikes!

    • Annalise/Typical Virgo says:

      also I LOVED the secret of Roan Inish when I was a kid.

  27. Serenity says:

    After the way she almost killed herself and her daughter on that moped school-run that time? Hell yeah I believe she’d ski away and give no thought whatsoever to who she hit on a ski slope. But I also think it’s a cash grab just from the email and the changing of his story. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.